CARL MOUTON 1930 MODEL A STATION WAGON

THE BIRTH OF A  1930 MODEL A FORD WOODIE

I bought my 1930 Model A Ford Tudor in Salisbury from a Mr Voysey in 1976 in the then Rhodesia, and was fortunate to get four crates of spares in on the bargain. When we down sized to our present home in 1992 I was forced to open the 4 crates that I had been storing, to see what was in them. Well what was my surprise when I discovered that I had virtually a complete car except for the main body. All other body parts were there although certain smaller items were missing.

Gradually during 1998 I started assembling the running parts on to the chassis, sometimes with the help of club members and others who I had helped, and had the spray painting done. David Black did up the engine. Slowly but surely the car took shape as and when I had time to work on it. Now and then I made parts that were missing. Many of those parts were readily available in the States and occasionally also locally but cost or likely delays precluded me from buying them so I made them.

I had been a member of the Model A Ford Club of America for many years and discovered that they had a sub section called Woodie Waggons.  Woodwork has been my passion since I was a child and for me the obvious route seemed to be to construct a Woodie Body for the Ford. During a trip to Canada in the late 90’s I had met Jim Templeton and Bob Bentley, the latter owning the largest Ford Agency in Edmonton in Canada. Later they would bless me with an absolutely wonderful gift, namely all the back numbers of the Woodie Waggon news letters that contained the copies of original Ford drawings of every part that I would need to for the wooden body as well as all the different metal parts needed to complete the make car.

On a visit to the States that David Black and I did in 2004 to visit the incredible Hershey Car Show I managed to see a 1930 Model A Woodie for the first time. What an experience ! I was able to photograph much of the detail that I needed and that was not clear from drawings or pictures that I had. That helped me immensely. Another stroke of luck was that Johann Zietsman a close friend who had emigrated to the USA found two full boards of birch ply in Rye that somebody had imported. I cut each one into 4 sizes to suit the panel sizes and wrapped them like two suitcases to return home with me. With that came another story. On our way back home David included the one pack with his luggage and I the other. All our luggage got lost but 4 days later arrived with the compliments of SAA and with no extra charge for overweight or Custom charges. Luck was on my side !

Once home I started making the body.  In found that Canadian Maple prices ranged from R22 000 a cube to R25 000.I needed about half a cube and then luck smiled on me and I found the remainder of a large order which was sold to me at R11 000 a cube !  I started off by shaping all the parts for the floor out of Oak, then shaped all the body structure parts in Maple and assembled those. From the Ford drawings I was able to construct all the metal parts that formed and integral part of the body and also re-worked the shape of the carriage bolts to conform to those that Ford used.

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A real challenge was to form the finger joints in the arches over the back wheels. If these were not exactly as Ford made them, then the cars value dropped by 15% or more. A friend of mine Kevin Chadwick made the tool to enable me to cut those finger joints identical to the original ones. I managed to cut these on my circular saw making use of a jig that I made. I found that one had better control over the cutting than was suggested in Woodie Waggons with a radial arm saw.

Once the structure was complete I could make the doors which need to fit nicely into the structure. There is a wide shaped piece of Maple that forms the ‘arm rest’ of the door and is fixed right round the car. The cost for the shaper was R1200 which would have been a waste of money so I shaped a piece of stainless steel and used it as a scraper to form it correctly which took a Saturday morning but it came out perfectly.

I next shaped and fitted the Birch panels into place in the doors, side panels and the back and then having shaped all the beading with a router fixed those in place on all the Birch panels using screws in the same pattern used by Ford. Next I tackled the roof structure which was made originally with lime slats but found these to be unobtainable even in Europe.  I then discovered that it was almost impossible to tell the difference between Lime and Yellow wood, even the sg. is similar so that is what I used on top of the Maple roof bows.

Some of the metal parts were in rather difficult shapes so I did drawings and had them laser cut by my friend Mike Davies. I did all the welding and then made the chains for the tailgate which were welded differently as to how chains are welded today. I formed them on a solid bar then cut them, connected them then welded the joints. The next difficult part was the formed sheet iron ‘eyebrow’ over the windscreen. I formed the shape in two pieces, then shaped the sheet over it and finally soldered the two pieces together.

Making the Hinges for the doors was also quite a mission. They were the full height of each door and the ones for the front doors had in addition a large outer panel to marry the straight up door to the shaped firewall. A pre-requisite of Mr Ford was that the fingers of the hinges were not to be seen on the outside. The whole process of how I made them was later published in Woodie Waggons. Also published was how I made the ‘eyebrow over the windscreen, the gutters along the length of the roof, the wide ledge around the body that I shaped, how I cut the finger joints on the circular saw and how I constructed the seats.

With the body complete I made the seats. I could not find suitable springs for the seats so used inner springs from a mattress. These were too big for the back part of the set so I used small chains to pull down the outer frame at the back to get the shape right. Gerald Evernett then did the upholstery for me and with the detail we got from Woodie Wagons he made the Side Curtains.

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I imported the hood lining from the States, covered the roof after which I fitted the gutter which I had made. Finishing touches followed like having the little labels made that were fixed to each of the side curtains indicating where they were to be used and fixing the studs that that held the curtains. The studs I was able to find locally.

Building Woodie was really a task that tested ones skills to the full not only in woodwork, and metalwork but also in innovation. The restoration was done with all original parts, new or used or reproduced from original Ford drawings. It is impossible to give all the detail in an article of this nature but I have tried to touch on all the various aspects of the build.

 

It was a pleasure to submit Woodie to the ‘Concourse de Elegance’ at our Club the veteran Car Club of South Africa. I was awarded the following;-

Gold Medal   96.4%   (Highest percentage scored)

The Jock Simpson Floating Trophy---Winner Veteran Class.

Sir Clive Edwards Trophy---Best Restoration on Show.

VCC of SA Founders Trophy--- Overall Winner All Classes.

 

Carl Mouton.

Carl Mouton 1930 Model A Staion Wagon Photo by Gavin Foster
Carl Mouton 1930 Model A Staion Wagon Photo by Gav...
Carl Mouton 1930 Model A Station Wagon
Carl Mouton 1930 Model A Station Wagon
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Carl Mouton 1930 Model A Station Wagon 2